Velocipedes promise to become a perfect nuisance. (1869)

Velocipedes promise to become a perfect nuisance. One is annoyed by them wherever they go. But were this all, we might try to put up with the pest, as, indeed, we have to do with much not exactly to our mind. What strikes me as the worst feature about this velocipede rage, however, is the vehemence shown by our young men once more to become mere lads. That I may not be misunderstood, allow me exactly to explain to what it is that I refer. My readers are aware that there are different kinds of velocipedes – the two-wheeled, the three-wheeled the respectable-looking, the immensely- shabby, the useful and the toy velocipede. They are all propelled by the rider using his feet after the fashion of weavers. I suppose their object will be to give greater speed than can be obtained by walking, at the same time that the exercise of the riding weaver is as beneficial as that of the humble pedestrian. Now, it is perfectly true that an active rider can propel the best kind of them at the rate of nine or ten miles an hour and I am willing to believe the editor of the Lancet newspaper when he says that “the mode of locomotion promises a very agreeable method of taking useful and healthy exercise.” But it is only the two we-wheeled, the elegant, the well made and expensive ones that can carry their riders at such a speed. The others are useless except as carriages for invalids or playthings for grown-up children; and it is the latter kind with which Newcastle is infested. When a man is on them they run about from side to side, taking up as much room as half-a-dozen drunken men and every now and then, despite their three wheels, over they go, helpless riders and all to the delight of the criticising onlookers. Let the police have them and their riders taken up as drunk and incapable nuisances!

The Newcastle Courant etc, May 7, 1869

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